When there are too many tools in the infrastructure toolbox

By: David Cumberworth, MD EMEA, Virtana



Digital transformation and IT modernisation initiatives provide innovations to create a competitive edge and drive business growth. But they’ve also created increasingly complex environments that need to be managed by teams that are strapped for time and resources. 

IT organisations are good at taking on new tools but really bad at retiring older ones. But how do you know which tools are critical to keep, where there’s overlap, and what’s no longer needed? Part of the promise of AIOps is to rationalise tools so you end up with a single-pane-of-glass view of the IT environment. This, however, is unrealistic.  Most analysts agree that you need a number of different tools to manage everything. The challenges, therefore, are to reduce the number of legacy tools and replace them with a platform that does the collective work better. The final tool selection should operate together in a fully integrated manner.

The IT infrastructure is made up of servers and their related VMs and hypervisors, the network and related switches, and a storage layer (traditional or NAS). A good starting point is to evaluate what you are using to manage these layers. Then look at the infrastructure from an application point of view – do the legacy tools give you an application view or do they just show their particular silo? You need a view of how the applications using the infrastructure are performing so you can create a baseline. Once established, you can then look at pinch points and capacities to optimise the system. This new application-centric approach also gives you valuable insight you can share with the business – after all, they are only interested in how the applications are performing and not what technology they are running on.

The next stage is to look at the applications themselves and the customer experience they provide. For this you will need an Application Performance Monitor (APM) that shows end-user experience, the coding and all IT components outside the data centre. A good example of this is AppDynamics from Cisco.

You now have application and infrastructure views, offering an integration interface so analytics can be viewed holistically rather than by platform. This enables you to report to the business how their applications are running and have performed during the time since last reviewed, transforming IT from overhead into a source of competitive advantage and business value.

Virtana offers a monitoring and management platform for enterprise hybrid IT infrastructure that enables you rationalise your infrastructure tools and deliver application- and infrastructure-centric views of your environment fully integrated with Cisco’s AppDynamics.